INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man says he wants people to know they aren't alone when it comes to domestic violence situations.
He has turned his abuse into purpose, by advocating for those trying to escape an abusive situation.
"There is help and people can survive it," Adam Clevenger said.
Every year for his birthday, Clevenger gives back to Coburn Place by holding a fundraiser.
Coburn Place is a domestic violence shelter in Indianapolis that equips survivors with all the tools they need to get on their feet, from fully furnished emergency housing to support.
"Survivors need support to be able to heal and create a fresh start on their own terms," Julie Henson, who works at Coburn Place, said. "Everyone deserves a safe home."
On Thursday, the organization was celebrating Clevenger's 40th birthday.
The first year Clevenger decided he was going to do a fundraiser, he had a goal of $250.
He surpassed that in 2017, and raised $1,700.
That has since grown exponentially. This year, he has raised more than $17,000.
In the six years he has collected, he has raised more than $53,000 for Coburn Place.
"Adam is an incredible person and supporter. The question often isn't what does Adam do, but what doesn't Adam do," Henson said.
Clevenger's reason in donating is personal.
He experienced abuse as a child.
"I stood there and watched many time, my dad abuse my mom and really didn't feel like I had a voice, couldn't do anything," Clevenger said.
Clevenger said his mom escaped the abusive relationship when he was just 4-years-old.
It's something he called terrifying, yet courageous.
He and his mother relied on an emergency shelter like Coburn Place.
"It was pivotal for us to have a safe place to go," he said.
He isn't alone.
Thousands of people face domestic abuse every year. It's something IMPD says has skyrocketed in recent years.
IMPD provided the number of abuse cases reported:
- 2021, more than 6,000
- 2020, nearly 5,700
- 2019, around 4,700
Clevenger hopes that sharing his story will inspire others.
"Oftentimes the victim feels a lot of shame around abuse," he said. "I personally believe that as the victims, as the survivors, we're the ones who should own the story. We should be more confident in telling our story."
If you are dealing with a domestic violence situation here are some resources:
Indy Champions for Domestic Violence Resources
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Beacon of Hope Crisis Center
6920 S. East St. Suite B, Indianapolis, IN 46227
Crisis Line: 317-731-6140
Domestic Violence Network
9245 N Meridian St., Indianapolis, 46260
Firefly Children & Family Alliance
2240 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN, 46208
Crisis Phone: 317-327-2480, 317-327-4969
Silent No More
9245 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46260
Coburn Place Safe Haven
604 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46205
2011 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Crisis Phone: 317-920-9320
Salvation Army Ruth Lilly Women & Children's Shelter
540 N. Alabama St., Indianapolis, IN 46204
Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1915 W. 18th St., Suite B, Indianapolis, IN 46208